Unlike in Nagano, when CBS had too much time and too few events, it now has too many games and too little time.
No matter how CBS dresses up its NCAA basketball tournament coverage--bringing in likable Greg Gumbel as host, adding Dean Smith as an analyst, staggering the starting times so more finishes can be shown--32 games in two days are simply too many for one channel.
Although CBS did a nice job of cutting away from the North Carolina-Navy rout Thursday to show viewers here the end of Washington's one-point upset of Xavier, it missed the end of Richmond's one-point upset of South Carolina.
What's needed is a cable partner.
But don't expect a change any time soon. CBS has this thing locked up through 2002, and having it exclusively means it can charge more for advertising.
Isn't it always about money?
MORE NCAA TOURNAMENT
CBS will have its No. 1 announcing team, Jim Nantz and Billy Packer, on tonight's UCLA-Miami game, as well as the game that precedes it--Michigan-Davidson. CBS is estimating the UCLA game will start about 6:55.
Nantz calls Stanford-College of Charleston, which will be on here at noon, "one of the best, if not the best, first-round matchups." He points out that Charleston lost to eventual champion Arizona only 73-69 in the second round last year.
On the women's side, UCLA's game against Michigan today at 4 p.m. is not being televised by ESPN, so the only coverage will be on KIEV (870), with Lou Riggs and Mike Sondheimer calling the action.
If the Bruin women win, they will play again Sunday at 5:30 p.m., and that game will be carried by AM 1150, the men's flagship station.
THE REAL MAIN EVENT
Julio Cesar Chavez's draw with Miguel Angel Gonzalez on pay-per-view last Saturday, which drew 200,000 buys, double what was expected, will be replayed on Showtime this Saturday at 10:15 p.m.
Almost as good as the fight is interviewer Jim Gray going toe-to-toe with promoter Don King at the top of the show. Even though Gray is employed by King, he didn't hold back in his questioning, which included:
* "Have you diverted millions out of Mike Tyson's pockets into yours?"
* "Other things alleged, your wife, two sons, your daughter-in-law, your daughter. Have they been paid consultants' fees? If they have, what for?"
* "Did you use Mike's money to build homes and refinance your condos and offices?"
In the best part, after asking King if Tyson could read and comprehend what he signs, Gray read this from a piece of paper: " 'Tyson did not have an opportunity to read or consider the agreement, nor did Tyson have the advice of counsel or any other representation at this meeting.' Where does that come from? Do you know?"
King, thinking it had come from Tyson's recent lawsuit against him, said, "It comes from the figment of someone's imagination."
Gray: "It comes from the 1988 lawsuit, Tyson vs. Cayton [meaning it came from King]. Do you find that ironic?"
Gray said he and King sat together after the interview and everything was fine.
"Don has always said, 'Don't protect me and don't protect my fighters. You can ask whatever you want,' " Gray said. "He told me that the day he hired me about 10 years ago."
THE SPREWELL DEAL
The Latrell Sprewell "Improve-the-Image" tour actually went fairly well. Even though he doesn't know that putting your hands around someone's throat is choking them, Sprewell generally came across in the numerous television interviews he did this week as a better person than his image indicates.
"Personally, I like him," said ESPN's Chris Myers, whose interview with the NBA player last Monday was probably the best of the lot. "He is not a dangerous person. But I think he is in denial about his history. In doing the research for the interview, we found a number of incidents where his temper flared up. I think he does need counseling."
Sprewell's last-minute appearance on "60 Minutes" Sunday knocked a scheduled segment on Jerry Tarkanian and Fresno State basketball off. CBS was unsure Thursday if the Tarkanian piece would be on this Sunday's show.
IMPROVING THE IMAGE HERE TOO
Barry Bonds, flashing a smile throughout, showed a softer, nicer side in an excellent interview with Steve Lyons that was shown on Fox Sports News' "Rewind" Monday. Bonds said both he and the media were to blame for his not having a better image.
He said he is the best player of his era--"Read it; it's in black and white"--but he also had high praise for others such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Cal Ripken Jr. and generally came off as a decent guy.
Recommended viewing: Del Harris, Reggie Miller and Tim Duncan are presented in a first-person perspective in a half-hour NBA-produced special NBC Sunday at 11:30 a.m. . . . Besides 40 Dodger games, Fox Sports West 2 will carry seven live Galaxy road matches this season. The first one will be from Colorado April 4.
Fox Sports News has made many positive moves since being transformed from Press Box 1 1/2 years ago, but one that was hard to figure was the recent dismissal of longtime anchor Alan Massengale, a proven pro. Massengale, who was at ESPN in the mid-1980s and was one of the original members of Prime Ticket's Press Box when it was launched in 1990, said he was told three days before his contract was to expire that it was not being renewed. "I like Alan a lot, I really do, and wish him well," executive producer John Terenzio said. "But what he is saying is simply not true. We could have renegotiated his contract last fall and chose not to." . . . Fox Sports News has added a new anchor, Lauren Sanchez, formerly of the television magazine show "EXTRA."
The Fox network, the over-the-air one that is seen on Channel 11--it does get confusing, doesn't it?--has announced its on-air talent for the April 4 Santa Anita Derby, which marks the network's entry into horse racing. Joe Buck will serve as host, trainer Ron Ellis and New York Times West Coast correspondent Jay Privman will serve as commentators, Suzy Kolber will be a trackside reporter and Trevor Denman will call the race. At least Fox, which is based in Los Angeles, isn't doing what NBC always does--importing New York race caller Tom Durkin.
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What Los Angeles Is Watching
A sampling of L.A. Nielsen ratings for March 7-8
Event Ch. Rating Share Golf: Doral Open 2 2.5 8 Gymnastics: American Cup 4 2.4 8 Hockey: Detroit at Kings 11 1.4 5 College basketball: Minnesota vs. Michigan 2 1.3 5 College basketball: Cincinnati vs. N.C. Charlotte 2 1.0 3
Event Ch. Rating Share Pro basketball: Detroit at Lakers 4 7.3 22 Pro basketball: Chicago at New York 4 7.2 17 Golf: Doral Open 2 3.7 10 College basketball: NCAA selection show 2 2.8 7 Exhibition baseball: Montreal vs. Dodgers 5 2.5 8 Auto racing: IROC 7 2.1 5 College basketball: Michigan vs. Purdue 2 1.8 6 College basketball: Kentucky vs. South Carolina 2 1.6 6 Pro basketball: Clippers at Denver 9 1.3 2
Note: Each rating point represents 50,092 L.A. households.